Thursday, March 3, 2016

Start a new series this spring: Still Life with Memories

Spring is almost here, a time of blossom, a time to start something new... So I thought I will give you a flavor of three snippets from each of my books in the series Still Life with Memories. They bring with them a bit of the fragrance of this time. Taste them, feel them, let me know if they awaken something new in you:


I open the bedroom window, and feel warm spring air coming in, blowing gently into my face, which feels like a promise. Like, it’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be a beautiful day. 
I rewind the musical mobile, and listen to it chiming, chiming, chiming over my head for a long while. And there I stand listening, not knowing what to do, not wanting to admit to myself how I feel. Anyhow I’m glad you can’t see me sniffling, and blotting the corner of my eye, ‘cause like, there isn’t no one here I can hug, and no one to hug me right back.

Anita in My Own Voice

During our walks that spring, dad would point out the tree: Its fiery red flowers, that looked like fat pinecones at the tips of irregular, twisting branches, and the seeds, which in certain species were used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples. The seeds were toxic, he warned, and could cause fatal poisoning. I learned that mature Coral trees should be watered frequently—but not during the summer months. In fact, he said, the less water in summer, the more flowers you can expect the following spring.
I cross two lanes of traffic, come closer to one of those Naked Coral Trees, and  with great awe, brush my fingers across the trunk. It is a contorted, elephantine thing, with a roughly textured bark, and thick roots clinging fiercely to the earth. This being early October there are no flowers, no leaves, even. The tree seems to take on a humanoid appearance, as if it were the body of a character, or even several characters, mangled beyond recognition. 
It is a stunning sight, which has fascinated me since childhood. Above me, the bare limbs—some of which have been pruned recently—are branching apart, and looking at them you can imagine a knee here, an elbow there, someone wrestling, someone in embrace. 
As you walk past them, the trees seem to tell you a story line by line, scene by scene. In one tree I could see a man and a woman, kissing; in another, a father and son.
Knowing my fascination with the stars, and especially with movie stars and with performers of both classical and popular music, he sent me a constant stream of news and magazine clippings. Among other things there was a tape of a song titled I’ll be Dreaming You. Being bashful at the time, I had no girlfriend at the barracks, nor did I have one left behind—but even so, the lyrics evoked a painful longing as if I had one, as if I recalled the sweetness of her lips: 

The magic of your kiss. your eyes
And now like then, the bells do ring
Was it the spell of sunrise
Or the scent of spring?
The fading  tremor of the train
Who knows if we shall meet again

Lenny in The Music of Us

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Volume I: My Own Voice
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Volume II: The White Piano
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Volume III: The Music of Us
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Volume IV: Dancing with Air
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Volume V: Marriage before Death
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Volume I & II, woven together: Apart from Love
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